BERLIN, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Wolfgang Mayrhuber, the long-serving chairman and chief executive of Lufthansa , has died at the age of 71 after a serious illness, the German airline said on Monday.
"Wolfgang Mayrhuber has served and shaped our company for more than 45 years. We Lufthansa employees thank him for his great service to the Lufthansa Group. Our thoughts are now with his family," CEO Carsten Spohr said in a statement.
Mayrhuber resigned as chairman of Lufthansa's supervisory board last September, six months before the end of his term, and was replaced by former finance chief Karl-Ludwig Kley.
Mayrhuber, an Austrian, joined Lufthansa as an engineer in 1970, and became head of Lufthansa's technical services subsidiary in 1994, before joining the executive board in 2001 with responsibility for passenger services.
He served as CEO from 2003 to 2010 and pursued an aggressive acquisition drive, buying up rivals like SWISS and Austrian Airlines, and then as chairman from 2013 to 2017.
But analysts viewed his results as mixed, as Germany's biggest airline had to suspend its dividend twice and slash costs as part of a painful strategic overhaul. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)